Why is it imperative to have a company Email Policy? It is simply good business, that’s why.
Having a clear and detailed email policy in place, is critical to you being able to enforce or react to situations that may arise at a later date.
Smart Business Practices
Let’s assume you have the best folks in the world working for you. You know them and trust them. That still does not negate the need for having a Business Email Etiquette policy in place..
Best case scenario you will never need to refer to your policy statement due to employee behavior. But, if you do find yourself in that situation down the road, you will be relieved you have terms and conditions in place for your protection.
Technology is part of the workplace and email accessible to more employees than ever. Employees using your network, equipment and brand email address.
This makes it easy for all employees to surf the web on company time. They can share non-business related emails and links. In many cases becoming less efficient. Employees can also circulate unnecessary and/or inappropriate messages and illegally copy content.
Improper business email activities can lead to:
- Claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. This occurs when email or information is forwarded to an employee who may not have the same sense of humor as the Sender. We all receive emails by contacts with the latest joke or meme. Some of which could be offensive or are not appropriate in a professional environment.
- Misaddressed messages that lead to intentional or inadvertent release of trade secrets. One typo, dot, dash or space where it shouldn’t be. Folks typo email addresses all the time. Your sensitive company information can end up being delivered outside of the company.
- Network and spam issues. Employees who do not market your business within established protocols. Or misbehave using a company email address. This can cause providers to blacklist or cancel your accounts due to spam complaints.
- Copyright infringement issues and the possible legalities that can ensue. Copyright is one of the most misunderstood issues online. To take content or images without the creator’s/author’s written permission is copyright infringement.
Abuse of email may also lead to:
- Creating a negative perception of your business image, legitimacy and credibility. Do not underestimate the power of perception as it relates to your business’ email activities.
- Drain on limited storage and resource capabilities.
- Slower response times for legitimate business activities. Focus is lost on priorities and customer service.
- Waste of computer resources. Large gratuitous downloads can negatively impact your bandwidth allowances not to mention lower employee productivity.
- Email forgery. All company emails should use your dot com/net/org to identify all employees. Including a standardized email signature all employees use with each email that they send.
Business Email Policy Basics
Any email policy should start with the following basics. You will want to review each carefully and then jot down and add the specifics unique to your business.
- Specify that the computer and email system are for authorized purposes only. State clearly that while on company time any use of the Company’s equipment is to be used solely for business activities related to the performance of an employee’s job responsibilities.
- Set clear expectations of employee privacy. Trends indicate that the majority of email policies currently in place explicitly include that while on company time, employees should not expect to have any privacy when using company owned equipment and resources.
- Establish monitoring as the right of the employer. It should be expected and acknowledged.
- Make sure employees understand attention should be taken to avoid improper use of copyrighted material.
- Outline specific types of content that should be avoided in email messages.
- Have employees sign and date the email policy. Put a copy in their personnel file and give them a copy to have on hand for reference purposes.
Be Smart and Have a Business Email Policy
For more details and guidance check out my Business E-mail Etiquette eBook. My eBook also includes a complete Business Email Policy for you to tailor to your specific needs.
By having an email policy in place, you will ensure employees are aware of all the issues and best practices necessary to emailing on behalf of, and while using, your company’s resources to communicate online.